When Williams Lake resident Kurtis Olson turns 18 on Feb. 10 he hopes he will be back in school and his foot will be totally healed.
In March Kurtis had routine surgery at Children’s Hospital to remove a bunion, but since then has undergone several surgeries because of an infection, with the latest surgeries involving a bone and skin graft that left him with 60 stitches on his hip.
Kurtis is so glad to be home finally, although he must keep his foot elevated at all times.
Throughout his ordeal, the outpouring of many people in the community has been a bright light for his family.
“This community, our friends and family have been overwhelming,” said his mother Kim Couture. “We cannot thank people enough.”
One of the highlights for Kurtis was when a care package from Lake City Secondary School students full of cards and some brain teaser toys arrived at the hospital.
“It was different to hear from so many kids,” Kurtis said. “At school I keep to myself with a few select friends but now more kids know me than I know. It was fun to read all the comments in the letters.”
Another special surprise came when Rick Hansen visited Kurtis in the hospital for an hour.
“It was a comfortable warm conversation,” Kurtis said.
The visit transpired because Hansen was at Mountview school visiting the students and principal Rick Miller told him about Kurtis being in the hospital in Vancouver.
“He was bragging about the track records Kurtis broke when he was a student there,” Kim said, noting Miller also gave Hansen some photographs of Kurtis when he was a student at the school to take with him when he visited.
Kurtis arrived back in Williams Lake on Nov. 9, and was greeted by a crowd of kids at the house to welcome him home.
This week Kurtis will return to Children’s to have the PICC line (peripherally inserted central catheter) that’s been used for his antibiotics removed, and the family is hoping the reports will all be good.
At the hospital Kim met so many parents in similar and even more dire situations.
“I met one man whose daughter just turned one and she has never left the hospital.”